Life Expectancy

Started by Justin Swanstrom on Saturday, April 26, 2014
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4/26/2014 at 11:16 PM

The life expectancy myth, and why many ancient humans lived long healthy lives

This article makes a point that often confuses new genealogists. Most of us have heard that the average life expectancy at some period in history was only 25 years, or 40 years, or some other number that seems very sad.

What we might not realize is that these numbers are deceptive. Many of our ancestors lived just as long as we do.

The reason for the confusion is that the infant mortality was very high. On the day a baby was born it's average life expectancy might have been only 25 years, but that's because so many babies would die in infancy and childhood. Those early deaths bring down the average.

In fact, people who survived childhood typically ended up living into their 50s and 60s, and quite a few of them ended up living almost as long, or about as long as we do now.

4/27/2014 at 8:29 AM

Good point. Very relevant for Geni.

Is there a way to run life expectancy on the entire Big Tree?

Say, to test the myth, it would be cool if one could run the expectancy of all profiles in Geni, say, by century and country, while removing the profiles of those who died before reaching, say, the age of 5.

Basically, what I am curious about (#1) is to know if the Big Tree could also expose the "life expectancy myth".

Basically, what I am curious about (#2) is whether Geni members can have access to the Big Tree backend database to conduct research/stats. Is it something one can be granted to with special request?

4/27/2014 at 11:01 AM

To add to this, while women might die in childbirth, a long-lived man might have several wives and have children from age 18 or 19 to age 70. I have seen this in my ancestors. I have to keep this in mind when I see records for children with the same patronymic, born decades apart.

4/28/2014 at 5:01 AM

#1 if you choose your filters carefully you could probably use statistical analysis to prove that we are all immortal. .. or dead already.
Who was it that said "lIes, damn lies and statistics"?

#2 yes its possible but you have to know who to ask (no not me!) but if you dont know who to ask they would probably say no anyway even if you worked out who they are.

Private User
4/28/2014 at 5:36 AM

Alex, Mario,
I am actually looking at something like this, but not for the whole tree.
It is about
and establishing longevity of people from Croatian coastal places

Alex, you have all the ingredients for a long healthy life - it looks like Croatian background mixed with New Zealand is the optimal

Private User
4/28/2014 at 5:37 AM

To calculate life expectancy you need to have a complete population (ie as many of people accounted for - both birth and deaths)

4/28/2014 at 3:18 PM

"Quite simply, these people live a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, daily exercise, and a low stress life that incorporates family, purpose, religion, and meaning."

If that's the secret to longevity i'm surprised i'm not dead already!

Seriously, there's so much cancer in the immediate family that i am very pessimistic of becoming another Podgora centenarian, perhaps the Drvenik genes are a Curse?

4/28/2014 at 3:35 PM

I was always told it's the yogurt. Gotta eat a lot of yogurt every day ;)

Private User
4/28/2014 at 4:03 PM

Yogurt is good, but in most of the blue zones areas was not on the menu
Apart from list from Alex, Social inclusion and genetics play a major part
Social inclusion is about everyone having a role in society
and contributing, including elderly and handicapped

Private User
4/28/2014 at 4:14 PM

Back to Justin's article, it refers exactly to the way
Longevity is calculated by some authors.
Once Infant mortality is removed, you get a completely
different picture. I know for certain, that my ancestors
Lived long lives, and find it quite frustrating explaining
to people that people dont live longer today, we just
have less babies born to each mother, and less of them die

And I have a credible data to prove it

4/28/2014 at 4:27 PM

Okinawa-style caloric restriction, anyone?

BBC Horizon. How to live to 101, Part 1 :
BBC Horizon. How to live to 101, Part 2 :
BBC Horizon. How to live to 101, Part 3 :
BBC Horizon. How to live to 101, Part 4 :
BBC Horizon. How to live to 101, Part 5 :

BBC News: The towns where people live the longest

4/28/2014 at 4:59 PM

Well i think talking to all you lot everyday covers me for "everyone having a role in society and contributing, including elderly and handicapped".

Just have to eat more Yogurt now and restrict my intake of sushi!

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